Officially known as the Inaugural “CarCash Mudsummer Classic by CNBC Primes the Profit 150,” Eldora Speedway played host to the first premier-level NASCAR dirt race in more than 40 years. The NASCAR Camping World Truck Series’ warriors mounted their attack on the famed Western Ohio clay oval -- Eldora Speedway. NASCAR’s premiere series competed last on dirt on September 30, 1970, in Raleigh North Carolina when a guy named Richard Petty won the “Home State 200” at the one-mile State Fairgrounds Speedway. History was written on a comfortable mid-week July night when NASCAR and Eldora unleashed an event unlike any seen in several years.
The beginning, a new dawn for NASCAR.
NASCAR announced the 2013 schedule for the Camping World Truck Series on November 28, 2012. Racing history was made as the series headed to Eldora Speedway in Rossburg, Ohio (the half-mile dirt oval owned by three-time NASCAR Sprint Cup Series champion Tony Stewart), for the first NASCAR race on dirt in 43 years. With the date set at July 24, it would run on the week leading into the Indianapolis Brickyard race weekend, a very popular time in the racing world.
“We’ve had talks about getting the trucks on dirt in the past,” said Steve O’Donnell, NASCAR senior vice president of racing operations during the official announcement. “The door-to-door racing that our truck series is known for, plus Eldora’s popularity and Tony’s dedication to putting on great shows for the fans is a perfect fit. We’ll have a maximum starting field of 30 trucks at Eldora.”
Stewart added, “I’ve always joked around when people say, ‘What would you do if you could change the schedule?’ I always joke around about saying ‘I would add a dirt race.’ Now we’re fortunate enough to have the Truck Series at Eldora finally. It’s really a dream come true for us as not only a promoter, but I don’t think any of us really thought, like we mentioned since 1970, the national series have never been to a dirt track. To imagine that 42 years later we’re going to be taking a national NASCAR series back to a dirt track is a huge honor for us, something that everybody, including (the Eldora leadership) Roger Slack, Larry Kemp, and Larry Boos, everybody at Eldora, are extremely excited.
“I think the race itself is going to be pretty exciting. We’ve seen what the Prelude to the Dream has done in the past, bringing in drivers that weren’t accustomed to running on dirt. I think with a little bit more favorable conditions we’ll be able to give the Truck Series a surface that’s going to be really competitive, very wide, at the same time going to give these guys an opportunity to learn something that’s a little bit different to them. I think it’s a great opportunity for not only the Truck Series regulars, but also with it being a Wednesday night race, having a lot of the Cup Series and Nationwide Series drivers, as well as younger drivers and veterans from the World of Outlaws, Late Models, and USAC drivers that will have an opportunity to land rides for that race. I think it’s going to be a great day. I think it’s going to be a very historic day for NASCAR and definitely for Eldora Speedway. I think the racing has a lot of potential to be very, very good. We have a very wide racing surface. I think that’s always provided great racing no matter what divisions we’ve had there in the past,” finished Stewart. And, like so many other times, he was right, historic.
The “CarCash MudSummer Classic” 150 grueling side-by-side laps
Former NASCAR Camping World Truck Series Champion Austin Dillon drove to the front with authority and took the inaugural Car Cash Mudsummer Classic by CNBC Prime’s the Profit at Eldora (OH) Speedway. A mid-week special that would feature 150 grueling laps for the A Main, along with five heat races to set the field of 30 trucks. Dillon would waste no time coming from his 19th starting position getting to the front by the races halfway point only to see an overtime green-white-checkered finish to complete the task.
Veteran racer Kenny Schrader brought the field to the green from the pole starting position with veteran dirt Late Model driver, Jarred Landers alongside. As the field of 30 scuffled through turn one Schrader easily set the pace. For 15 laps, Schrader held the command until Timothy Peters came up and grabbed the top spot. It would last 23 laps until young gun Kyle Larson sailed from the 13th starting position to the lead at lap 39. He held the top spot until the end of the first 60-lap segment, which allow the teams a chance to make adjustments to their trucks. At the first break it was Larson followed by Dave Blaney, Peters, Dillon, and Landers who rounding out the top five. Back under green with a double file restart, Blaney would take a look, but quickly dropped back in line as Larson seemed to have the field covered. While Larson was cruising, Austin Dillon picked off first Peters and a short few laps later, Blaney. Before long he was bearing down on the leader as they caught up to lapped traffic. Once traffic came into play, Dillon was able to make up the lost ground and the race for the top spot was on. By lap 89, Dillon put his Chevrolet in front and set sail. At the end of the second 50 lap segment it was Dillon over Larson, Ryan Newman, Blaney, and Brendan Gaughan.
Now with just 40 to go, Dillon set the pace as Larson once again set chase along with Newman, who was a very close third. As Newman and Larson would go side by side, it allowed Dillon to cut his own path. However, at lap 122 Larson would get a nose in front while in traffic, only to see Dillon bust back on top. Of the race’s six cautions, three would fall in the last segment, with two of those inside 10 laps to go. The last would fall on lap 149 setting up the green-white-checker finish for all the Eldora marbles. With it all on the line, Dillon showed his years of Dirt Late Model experience riding high on the Eldora banks right against the wall. He got a great restart and Larson could only watch as the former series Champion drove under the checkers. Newman would secure Third with Joey Coulter Fourth, followed by Gaughan rounding out the top five.